For almost 6 years I have worked for the organization Veritas Prep Charter School (VPCS ) in Springfield, MA. VPCS was founded in 2012 with the mission to prepare students in grades 5-8 to compete, achieve, and succeed in high school, college, and beyond. VPCS now serves more than 370 Springfield students and is one of Massachusetts’ top-performing middle schools. I am so proud of all of our students. As Manager of Student Services they and their families have become family to me. 

In light of the senseless deaths of Amhaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah Mcclain, I made the choice to return to my school with the resources needed to educate and support my students better. I have made it my own personal mission to do the work. I have been reading, listening, watching, and challenging my own thoughts on what it means to be an anti-racist in our society. 

Love is a verb. And I love my kids fiercely. I have decided to harness my gifts/ talents and everything I have learned and put LOVE into ACTION.

For the next 9 days I will RUN 9 MILES to RAISE $900. I chose 9 to honor the last moments of George Floyd’s life and running for my fellow runner Amhaud Arbery. This money will be used for two things:

1-To purchase books for our classrooms and libraries about and written by people of color.
2-To offer financial assistance to families who need help purchasing uniforms.

Please join me in my 9 x 9 challenge! All donations are appreciated. No amount is too small. I would like to invite you to not only donate but to join me! Can’t run 9 miles? That’s ok! Walk 9 minutes, meditate 9 minutes, or come up with your own 9 inspired challenge. I would love to see what creative things you come up with! If you do join the challenge, please post about it and tag me on IG @anniek259. I will be posting every day about my run and updates on how much we’ve raised.  

Please join me in my quest to get books into my kid’s hands and brand new uniforms on their backs. Change starts with us. 

“We are one people, one family, the human family, and what affects one of us affects us all.”

― John Lewis


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Annie Paredes 
Westfield, MA
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